5 Parenting Things I Should or Shouldn’t Be Doing

Although I am a working mom, my toughest job is being a mom. Children are complicated and they don’t come with any instructions.

I taught for five years before switching careers in 2008. My students ranged in age from 3 to 14 and the subjects I taught ranged from Montessori to Spanish. Some of the more friendly parents would talk to me about their parenting issues, and I assumed that someday I would be well prepared to handle it. As a teacher, I had to deal with potty fights (use your imagination), wrangled groups of kids on the playground, and helped several children deal with some serious emotions and situations.

This is where I say something like; Oh, how wrong I was.

Working with children has, in no way, prepared me for having a child of my own. I’ve looked to parenting literature, social media forums, and other parents as I struggle to be the best mom that I can be.

When I am in public with my child, I am aware of the stares I get from people who used to be just like me; the people without kids who silently remind themselves that they never want to be a mom like me. There is no right or wrong with parenting, there is just… different. But despite my open mind about parenting, others have strong opinions about how it should be done. Moms come in a lot of varieties; strict, cool, serious, kind, silly, strong, etc. I’m the confused kind of mom.

As parents, we can all agree that nothing is more important than having safe, happy, healthy, and loved children. What we disagree on is how to make all those things happen. I am aware of some things I do as a mom that other parents disagree with. Below is my list of 5 things I should or maybe shouldn’t be doing.

5 Things I Should or Shouldn’t Be Doing

What I do: I let my son brush my hair My hair is thick and long, thus taking a very long time to dry even with a blow dryer. My son has been mimicking what he sees others doing and that includes brushing his own hair in an awkward manner his motor skills can’t handle yet. He has his hair brushes, but he really likes to use mine. When I hand my brush over to him, I know it’s gonna be painful for me. Why I do It? We’re bonding; he is trying to take care of me the way that I take care of him. Kind of like the monkeys that pick bugs off of one another. He’s also learning good grooming and controlling the force of his touch (the grabbing-pulling that makes doggies cry when he pets them).

What I Do: I let my son play with my cell phone My husband, mother, and so many others have told me this is a bad idea. Mostly, they think I am teaching him playing with phones is OK and they are afraid for theirs. I have rules though. He can only play with my phone when I offer it to him. If he takes it himself, I take it away. I also require that he only play with my phone under my supervision. I don’t want him eating, trowing, or losing my cell phone. If it looks like he is getting rough, again I take it away. Why I do it? It just makes him happy. More often than not, the only thing he does with my phone is turn it on, turn it off, and smile each and every time he does it.

What I Do: I feed my son food other than fruit and vegetables I was strict on what my child ate during the first year of his life as though I was following a specific recipe to ensure healthy eating habits for life. Now? Not so much. As we added more and more foods to his diet and different textures, I don’t restrict him to fruits, vegetables, and small portions of healthy meats. I have no problem sharing a few bites of cake with him. Why I do it? If he wants to try something I am eating, then why not? It’s my job to teach him how to make healthy choices, not limit his taste buds while he’s growing.

What I Do: I let my son play with things that are not toys Like things with buttons (computers, calculators) newspapers, shoe boxes, and other things you might just throw into the trash. Currently, his favorite toy is a tin box and some ticket stubs. He loves opening and closing the tin box and passing out the tickets one by one to anyone nearby. And like a lot of other children, he also loves cooking with an empty bowl and spoon. Sometimes he even makes ticket soup. Why I do it? This entertains him for HOURS and is made up of a tin box a friend gave him and left over ticket stubs that were garbage. He plays quietly, why wouldn’t I let him play with it?

What I Do: I let my son make a mess Yes, sometimes I watch him dump his toy bins on the floor and mix the organized contents. That same thing some mother’s update their Facebook status about with pictures of the damage their children caused. Why I do it? He’s just having fun and clean up is a game for him. I cheer and praise him when he puts toys back into his toy box or the bins. So instead of telling him NO when he makes a mess, I’m telling him YES when he cleans it up. This positive reinforcement has led to him spontaneously putting things away and another game he likes to play called, pick-up-the-tiny-thing-the-vacuum-missed-and-give-it-to-mommy.

BONUS: I also let my son shower instead of bath (you just try getting him to sit in the tub), I laugh at how cute he looks when he has a tantrum, and I let him get dirty when he plays in the yard.

Do you let your children do something maybe they shouldn’t be doing?



17 thoughts on “5 Parenting Things I Should or Shouldn’t Be Doing

  1. I let my nephew brush my hair too and I come away with a nest, but it’s okay because I love him and he is learning how to be gentle through this little moment.

  2. I just read through your list and thought… we did that last night and that and that. Yep we do all those things. It’s always encouraging to know you’re not the only one!

  3. I do all of these things too. I don’t want to be (too) controlling when it comes to food because I feel it sets a bad precedent for my daughter later in life. I let my daughter play with my hair, touch my face, and pet the cats so she can learn how to control herself and learn that other people and creatures have feelings too and we need to be nice to them. I love when she plays with mixing bowls, remote controls, spoons, whatever…right now she’s just figuring things out, later on she’ll use her imagination when playing with them. Playing with the phone is for my sanity sometimes and Lord knows she *loves* the baby in the phone (a picture of herself) and kisses her every time she sees her. And the mess? Show me a kid who doesn’t make a mess…I can either get on board or I can go crazy try to keep up with it.

    • How could I forget about remote controls??? I actually saw a ‘play’ remote control at Toys R Us a couple of weeks ago. Instead of paying $8.99 for it, I thought, nah, we have at least 6 remotes for him to play with at home. My son does get frustrated if I give him a ‘grown up thing’ that doesn’t light up, make noise, or cause something else to happen.

      And you are totally right, messes happen with kids whether we want them to or not. šŸ™‚

  4. I think you are doing a WONDERFUL job!!! Most people wouldn’t even take the time to consider what they are doing as right or wrong. Bonding with your child can NEVER be wrong! šŸ™‚

  5. I let my kids do every single one of the things you mention. I also let them jump on their beds and take all of the cushions off of the couch and let them build forts or stack the cushions and climb on top. We have a sectional so there are 5 cushions – it gets pretty wobbly and they have both fallen off the top. I also let them eat breakfast in my bed – on my husband’s side. That’s more for my enjoyment when he gets in bed that night and the slew of obscenities that follows.

  6. Love this post. I resisted the phone thing for ages, but now it’s become one of our Sunday morning pleasures… having a lovely lie in while the 4 year old plays with the puzzle app on my smart phone x

  7. Isn’t it remarkable how many people you encounter that judge you and tell how you should and shouldn’t be parenting. And during their unsolicited advice, you see their children doing something completely unacceptable!! I think you have the right approach:)

  8. You sound like a normal mom to me. I think what counts is you are there supervising your kid when he plays with your phone or makes a mess. You set limits. You are fair. You teach responsibility. You encourage his imagination. Sounds pretty good to me. Kids are messy. Life is messy. Teaching him to be an independent thinker who can make sound decisions (sounds like you’re starting this process) is what counts. šŸ™‚ Yay you!

  9. I do most of these things too. My son is finally starting to want to eat the things we are eating, so why wouldn’t I offer it to him? (And it gets us eating healthier too.) My son loves to brush his hair with my brush, which I think is hilarious. Totally. Also….we over at merelymothers love your blog and nominated it for The Versatile Blogger Award! Details are on our site. šŸ™‚ Happy Saturday!

  10. I let my oldest drink soda on the weekends with daddy because it’s the weekend and it’s daddy bonding time. It makes me cringe that I let it happen because I know how awful it is for a 3 year old but it makes dad happy. And he only has a little bit.

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